My house is a mess and the newspaper pissed me off

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The stomach virus is gone, but we’re not fully operational around here.  Everyone is still tired and we’ve all just lost a little momentum.  The house is a mess and we have a real estate open house tomorrow–yikes.  The table I photographed happens to be covered with 4-year-old girl ephemera, but my own desk is just as overflowing, with mail, stamps and a stamp pad from an old paper project, a shirt that needs mending, and three different yarn projects in various stages of completion.  Somehow we will get all this cleaned up and the Halloween decorations put away by tomorrow midday.  (So this morning blogging takes the form of procrastination.)

I also just have to comment on this ugly article that met me at the breakfast table this morning.  I don’t understand the so-called “mommy wars” at all.  It seems to me that some people take others’ strong commitments to a parenting philosophy personally, and feel indicted if they don’t share one, whereas the focus of most parenting philosophies is actually on children, not other mommies.  If a mother doesn’t like a particular philosophy, perhaps she should just avoid using it, instead of suggesting that its existence is undermining decades of progress in women’s liberation.  Jong seems to miss the point that if a woman disagrees with a philosophy (in this case, attachment parenting), then she is free to ignore it and move on.  It is only if she actually finds it compelling and thinks in her heart that she should be following it (or doing something differently) that it has any sway over her at all.  If she does not find a philosophy compelling, then the fact that other mothers practice it should not even be on her radar–parenting is a very personal quest, not a contest, and mothers do not have to register their commitment to any particular set of values anywhere.

I am grateful for a community that allows me to parent the way I feel is right.  Sometimes that is an accord with one particular parenting book or another, and sometimes it is not.  I know women who largely share my parenting views and work full-time at demanding jobs. I know others who stay home and share none of my philosophies.  I am glad that in this garbled world of feminism, post-feminism, and feminism-yet-to-come that I can stay home and tend my family’s metaphorical fires without feeling like I have something to prove.  I stay home because that is what feels right to me.  I enjoy contributing to my family’s economy in the kitchen, at my sewing machine, and out of my crochet bag.  I hold a masters degree from a prestigious university and if I felt like that piece of paper forced me out of the spot that makes me happy, then that would be enslavement.  To each her own.  I can’t imagine any child would be better off staying home with a mother who felt stranded in the role.  Nor do I think women should work outside the home just because that’s what they thought they would do when they were 22 and made expensive educational choices.  It’s a big world–can’t we make room for all the choices that are as varied and ever-changing as the individuals who make up our current generation of mothers?

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One response »

  1. UGLY INDEED! Wow.Jong has totally missed the mark! (That was the nicest way I could think to say that.)I never once got the idea, while reading The Baby Book (Sears) – OR anything else about attachment parenting – that anything recommended was:- something I was meant to feel guilty about.- more than a suggestion that I could take, leave or adapt as appropriate for my family.- something other than someone's shared thoughts based on their unique experiences.In the end Jong says, "We need to be released from guilt about our children, not further bound by it." I feel bad for her and anyone else that is unable to exercise enough independent thought to dissolve the necessity of seeking absolution from someone else. Plus, English 101: forego the use of passive voice. How about, "We need to release ourselves from any perceptions of imposed guilt over the way we parent our children."She closes, "We need someone to say: Do the best you can. There are no rules." I don't have The Baby Book in front of me to quote, but this was exactly the message I got from it, a message that has been reaffirmed by every parent – practicing attachment parenting or not – that I know. And what's more – I don't need anyone to say that to me, I figured it out for myself.

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